The judging panel observed: "We never know his name. But the African-American protagonist of Michael Thomas' masterful debut, Man Gone Down, will stay with readers for a long time. He lingers because this extraordinary novel comes to us from a writer of enthralling voice and startling insight. Tuned urgently to the way we live now, the winner . . . is a novel brilliant in its scope and energy, and deeply moving in its human warmth.”
The shortlist included The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz, The Burnt-Out Town of Miracles by Roy Jacobsen, Ravel by Jean Echenoz, Animal's People by Indra Sinha, The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid, The Archivist's Story by Travis Holland, and The Indian Clerk by David Leavitt.